COUNCIL MEETING, 20 NOVEMBER 2008
REPORT OF THE
EXECUTIVE LEAD MEMBER FOR
CHILDREN'S SERVICES (EDUCATION)
AND EXECUTIVE MEMBER FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
CHILDREN'S CENTRES - PHASE III STRATEGY
1. The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has required local authorities to develop children's centres in three separate phases, with associated targets for both the number of centres and the number of under fives reached. In phase 1 of the programme, children's centres needed to serve the 20% most disadvantaged wards. Seven children's centres were designated in Hampshire during this phase. In phase 2, a further 53 children's centres were developed across the county. As a result of the earlier programmes, approximately 70% of Hampshire's under fives are currently served by a children's centre.
2. The Council is now required to deliver additional children's centres in phase 3 of the programme. It will ensure 100% coverage of all children under five within Hampshire. A three-month consultation process (1 May - 31 July 2008) has been undertaken on the development of children's centres across the county in line with the latest initiative. Children's centres provide a range of services depending on local need and parental choice. They aim to offer information, advice and support to fathers, mothers and carers, as well as integrated childcare and early learning, health services, family support, parental outreach and employment advice.
3. The Executive Lead Member for Children's Services (Education) has considered a detailed report by the Director of Children's Services on this item. It included the key findings of the phase 3 consultation summary paper http://www3.hants.gov./uk/phase 3consultation.htm and a series of recommendations required to achieve delivery of phase 3 of the children's centre programme within Hampshire. The Executive Lead Member has given approval to the recommendations in the Director's report which include aspects of governance, management and procurement, funding and other important key elements required as part of the latest strategy. As a result of this decision, a further 25 children's centres will be developed in Hampshire. The Director's report on this item is on Hantsweb at http://www.hants.gov.uk/decisions/decisions-docs/081016-excsed-R1009103350.html
NURSERY PROVISION FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
1. Hampshire pre-school children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) can access a range of educational provision. Depending on the type and level of their needs, children may have early access to support from a variety of specialist services. Families may also be offered early support from a local children's centre. From the beginning of the year in which they become three years of age, the families of children who meet the agreed criteria are offered additional financial support to attend non-maintained pre-school. Across Hampshire, there is a wide range of specialist nursery provision with dedicated places for children with SEN. This includes six centres which may be described as `Early Years SEN hub centres' which provide dedicated SEN places for children with a wide range of SEN in addition to providing a variety of other services. The specialist intervention is expected to enable many of the children to make a successful transfer to mainstream school.
2. In order to ensure a more consistent range of provision across the County, there is a need for an `Early Years SEN hub centre' providing SEN places and a range of other services in each of the 11 districts of Hampshire. As a way of achieving this, the Executive Lead Member for Children's Services (Education) has agreed a strategy for improving nursery education for children with SEN across the County. The strategy will involve a phased approach to developing in the five areas which do not currently have an `Early Years SEN hub centre', dedicated SEN places in non-maintained pre-schools based in or linked to Hampshire Children's Centres. The intention is to facilitate working arrangements with nurseries so as to achieve high quality provision in line with an agreed model specification. The new provision will enable the parents of children with the most profound/complex learning difficulties to be given the opportunity to express a preference for either special or integrated provision. This report arises from the report by the Director of Children's Services on 16 October 2008 which provides further details about the strategy and the related model specification. It is available on Hantsweb at http://www.hants.gov.uk/decisions/decisions-docs/081016-excsed-R1009103321.html .
SUPPORT TO HAMPTON TRUST FOR TACKLING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
1. The Hampton Trust provides a well established project working with families who have suffered from Domestic Violence. This project has been funded from a number of different sources as grants from central government have changed or come to an end. In the current financial year, £32,000 was awarded by the County Council to the Hampton Trust to continue this important work. The Executive Member for Children and Families has approved a further grant of £7,500 from the Children's Services budget to the Hampton Trust. This grant payment will support the role of a Domestic Violence Co-ordinator and an associated training programme and further project activity. Preventative work of this nature has been identified as a priority area for further improvement.
2. This report arises from consideration of the report by the Executive Member for Children and Families on 16 October 2008, which is on Hantsweb at http://www.hants.gov.uk/decisions/decisions-docs/081016-xmchfa-R1009105545.html
DAVID KIRK PATRICIA BANKS
Executive Lead Member for Executive Member for
Children's Services (Education) Children and Families